Tag Archives: Peat

A Pair Of Peated Irish Whiskey From The Recent Past, Magilligan & Clonmel, 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts plus a Magilligan non peater, 40%

There’s a misconception Irish Whiskey isn’t peaty.

It has been – for a long time.

Irish Distillers released a 45 Year Old Peated Malt from the Old Midleton Distillery a while ago.

The whiskey for this tasting however came from Cooley – who have done a lot to revive the peaty category in Irish Whiskey.

Trying out a pair of 8 Year Old Peated Single Malts from the same source appealed to me – so let’s dive in!

Image courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan Single Malt, 40%

An Irish brand dating from the 1990’s using Cooley malt bottled for Ian Macleod Distillers.

Golden brown colour with decent legs. Fusty leathery nose with a sweet fruitiness & wholesome palate. An appreciative bite on the finish.

Quite a belter!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Magilligan 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Pale straw with decent legs. Gorgeous coastal iodine like smoke. An almost oily mouthfeel. The fabulous peat stacks up like a cosy warming fire on the finish.

Love this one!

Courtesy Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder

Clonmel 8 Year Old Peated Single Malt, 40%

Bottled for the Celtic Whiskey Compagnie in France.

Pale straw, decent legs. Soft gentle kiss of turf. Light palate yet smoke comes through. A more balanced well stacked glowing fire gradually fades away.

Nice

Thoughts

A tough choice!

2 gorgeous peaters – the full on Mulligan or gently cultured Clonmel?

Can depend on the mood at the time – but I’m giving it to the fabulous peaty exuberance of Mulligan 8yo.

Sláinte

A Flight Of 4 French Whiskies, Rozelieures Origine, Rare, Tourbé & Fumé, Single Malts, 40% to 46%

Continuing my exploration of the whisky world are these 4 single malts from grain to glass French Whisky distillery Rozelieures.

I sampled them before looking up anything on the web – it helps to eliminate any undue bias – & found them mainly on the light & easy side of the flavour spectrum.

Origine Single Malt 40%

Distilled from grain grown on the Rozelieures farm places this whisky in a select club of producers claiming terroir credentials.

Origine didn’t particularly shine for me however.

The flavours were soft, muted & mild – a touch of honeyed malt, hints of rustique agriculture, an easy going palate with an appreciative bite on the finish displaying woody spices & sweet vanilla.

Grand.

Rare Single Malt 40%

A fresher & cleaner style of malt.

Easy & smooth – almost to the point of being laidback – trés tranquille – perhaps deliberately so.

I’ve been told by distillers exporting into France the market shys away from bold flavours – so Rare is probably playing up to that.

Tourbé Single Malt 46%

Tourbé means peaty – yet I had a hard job picking this up from the very light straw coloured whisky.

There was a gorgeously dry & tingly spiciness on the finish however with subtle hints of smoke.

A 2nd tasting drew out more & Tourbé proved to be an enticing soft smoker.

Fumé Single Malt 46%

A more ‘traditional’ style of smokiness was evident with Fumé.

Old leather & cigar smoke on the nose.

The mild & easy palate gave way to a delightful crescendo of smokiness which dried out leaving a tingling spice finish.

Nice!

Thoughts

French whisky is growing fast.

A Federation has been formed to further the category of which Rozelieures – with their engaging & entertaining single malts – is part of.

Being a fan of bigger, badder & bolder flavours Fumé was the one for me – but I did find the subtlety of Tourbé enticing.

Perhaps with the opening up of travel restrictions after COVID a distillery tour trip of French Distilleries is in order!

Santé

Bottle images courtesy Whisky Rozelieures.

The Opening Up Of Whiskey Shows In A Post-Pandemic Setting – Fife Whisky Festival 2022

There was a bit of rounding the circle to my attendance at the Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

The show was my last event back in 2020 before lockdown ensued – & marks my first in a post-pandemic situation.

An eager & good natured queue formed outside Cupar’s Corn Exchange building in anticipation of the spirits within & it wasn’t too long before I arrived at my first stall.

Nc’nean are part of the new wave of Scottish Distilleries springing up around the country.

Their debut Organic Single Malt proved a lovely ex-bourbon & wine cask style of whisky with elegantly clear flavours.

I liked the clean, bold no nonsense Ardnumurchan bottle – along with the whisky too! A lovely combination of ex-bourbon, sherry & smidgen of peat.

Badachro‘s whisky isn’t matured – but they offer a gently peated Highland Single Malt from an unnamed source as a taster of things to come from this boutique distillery.

Established distillery Glen Moray provided the first of a few peated drams with their easy & accessible Peated Single Malt.

Springbank showcased their single malt range – but what took my eye was Campbeltown Loch Blended Malt.

Andy Stewart no longer needs to wish Campbeltown Loch was whisky – it is now!

Made up of Springbank, Hazelburn, Longrow, Kilkerran & Glen Scotia malts it proved to be a lovely well balanced soft peater.

I couldn’t come to the Fife Whisky Festival without sampling some of the local produce.

Lindores Abbey’s core release is a very pleasant – if somewhat understated – well balanced single malt. Still think Irish Whiskey needs an MCDV release myself.

Kingsbarns Distillery Reserve at 61.8% provided a bigger hit for my palate both in terms of flavour – and spirity punch!

There were a few non-Scotch entrants at the show.

Mackmyra impressed me with their AI:02 Intelligens. The algorithms must be in tune with my tastebuds as I preferred this one over the Stjarnrok single malt from their seasonal release range.

New Zealand’s Cardrona were back with their Growing Wings 5yo single malt. It offered a fuller flavour than the younger Newly Hatched I enjoyed back in 2020. Both packed a high ABV punch at 65.6%!

Spotting Black Tot Rum on the Elixir stall I couldn’t resist.

A delightful blend of Jamaican, Guyanaian & Barbadian rums modelled on the Royal Navy rum tot proved to be a highly entertaining tipple!

My last few samples were from a selection of independent bottlers who mainly do non chill filtered, natural colour & often single cask, cask strength bottles in limited – not to be repeated – releases from a variety of distilleries.

At Carn Mor I enjoyed a 7yo peated bottling distilled at Highland Park named Whitlaw.

For Scotch Malt Whisky Society -SMWS – I shunned their limited edition single malts & opted for the attractively designed label of Peat Faerie blended malt for yet another sweet peater with a kick.

The Single Cask Staoisha 6yo distilled at Bunnahabhain offered a combination of soft peat & sweet wine cask influence.

Fable Whisky‘s artwork had me hooked.

Sadly they had no peated bottles on show – so I chose by artwork. Chapter 11 happened to be a Glen Spey & whilst very nice – didn’t wow as much as the art did!

And with that – it was all over!

A generous feed of chips ‘n’ cheese, a packed train of fellow whisky fans back to Kirkcaldy & a short walk to the hotel ended yet another wonderful foray exploring the fine whisky on show at the highly enjoyable Fife Whisky Festival 2022.

Sláinte

Bart’s Blended Irish Whiskey, 46%

My 1st encounter with Bart’s Whiskey – a core release blend for Lough Ree Distillery in advance of their own distillate – was in the comfort & warmth of Skelly’s Bar Ballymahon.

Sitting by an open turf fire I found Bart’s to be clean & fresh with a lively citrusy nose.

A smooth silky mouthfeel with touches of oiliness warmed to me.

Delightful soft kisses of smoky turf on the finish left an engaging dry spiciness melting away.

A highly entertaining & complex whiskey!

The following week found me in possession of a bottle with the chance to explore further.

Meeting Bart’s in Skelly’s had already won me over – but the additional information only confirmed this.

Complete with QR code for all the geeks out there – a lovely passage honoured the memory of Lough Ree Distillery’s founders father Bart.

A component breakdown of the blend explained my brief tasting notes.

Clean & fresh’ equates to non chill filtered & natural colour.

The high – & probably youthful – grain percentage explains ‘lively’.

The pot still ‘oiliness’ is evident.

But the crowning glory – for my palate anyway – is undoubtedly the rye cask & peated malt giving those ‘smoky kisses’ & ‘dry spice’ on the gorgeous finish.

Some demand such information on the bottle.

For me it’s an optional extra & an additional selling point.

Even if all the label stated was ‘Bart’s Irish Whiskey’ – my palate told me this is a damn fine whiskey!

Sláinte

All images authors own.

Sheep Dip Islay, Blended Malt, 40%

Sheep Dip’s an old friend of mine.

The tongue-in-cheek name attracted me to this blended malt & was rewarded with an easy going honeyed experience augmented by a rich maltiness.

An Islay version caught my eye – a kind reader generously sent a sample.

The peat smoke was evident – but rather subdued.

More entertaining on the palate. Crisp, sweet & drying.

It’s on the finish that Islay Sheep Dip came alive for me. A gorgeous explosion of smokey goodness danced merrily away to a lip smacking finalé.

Nice!

Another entertaining brand from the Ian MacLeod stable.

Sláinte

Islay bottle image courtesy CelticWhiskeyShop. All others authors own.

An Fear Grinn, Móinteach, Single Malt, 46%

Having moved house during the pandemic this generous sample from the good people at An Fear Grinn almost went missing.

Móinteach time! c/othewhiskeynut

Luckily the new owners of my old abode kindly informed me of the package & it duly graced my happy hands.

What a delight it proved to be!

Móinteach – roughly translates as peaty – exhibited those lovely rich smokey aromas I adore.

Clean & clear – yet not overpowering.

The palate was milder & sweeter than nosing suggested.

Móinteach came alive on the finish for me.

A gorgeous drying out, tingling sensation – reminding me of the warm glow from the fading embers of a hearty fire wrapping me in it’s comforting embrace.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

Móinteach – my kinda whiskey!

Two Tastings of Two Stacks, The First Cut, Blend, 43%

My first encounter with Two Stacks was in a blind tasting.

Devoid of any prior knowledge my brief assessment of this ‘Complex Blend’ was as follows;

Complex Blend c/othewhiskeynut

Neutral on the nose, soft & subtle.

Not giving much away on the palate, mellow easy drinking.

Nice flavours on the finish, intriguing.

I was surprised to find out it was Two Stacks, The First Cut. Mainly as I’d heard the blend contained a peated element – which I’d failed to detect.

My second encounter with Two Stacks was from an actual bottle.

On the back label is the blending mix & yes – peat does feature, but at only 2% – it clearly wasn’t enough to grab my palate.

Back label info c/othewhiskeynut

Having all the information & a longer time to engage with the whiskey did slightly alter the experience.

A mere hint of smoke just pushed through on the nose – although the mild mellow softness still dominated.

The finish left me with a dry tingling – often a reaction I get from peated whiskey. At only 2% however it was a gentle suggestion & I’d probably be happier with a 20% hit.

Two Stacks in a Tuath c/othewhiskeynut

Interestingly another drinker had a heightened reaction against the peat – even at such a low concentration it was still overpowering.

Others I know detect sulphur from sherry casks in small amounts too.

My palate seems to be the opposite in that I need bigger percentages & bolder flavours to grab my attention.

As it is, The First Cut is a well put together blend.

Nice easy drinking – & while the peated element does add some character – it’s just not enough to excite my palate.

Sláinte

High Coast Hav vs High Coast Timmer, Single Malts, 48%

My first encounter with High Coast – or Box as they were originally known – happened to be in Gothenburg Airport.

Delightful Dálvve c/othewhiskeynut

A gorgeous smokey malt indeed.

Now rebranded as High Coast – would this duo from The Origins Series deliver?

Hav c/oHighCoast

Hav, 48%

Gentle clean smoke.

Lovely mouthfeel – like sitting beside a warm open fire – followed by a gorgeously tingling spicy dry finish which just excites my palate.

Simply divine.

Timmer c/oHighCoast

Timmer, 48%

More of a mossy kind of smokiness.

There’s a depth & complexity to the mouthfeel before a delightful explosion of smoke embraces you like a long lost friend.

Hygge in a bottle.

Fabulous c/othewhiskeynut

High Coast supply a whole heap of information via their website – but information alone is no substitute for an enjoyable tasting.

This pair of Swedish Malts are simply fabulous.